National Cancer Moonshot


Michelle Lee participates in cancer moonshot meeting with Vice Peesident Biden.


During his 2016 State of the Union Address, President Obama called on Vice President Biden to lead a new, national “Moonshot” initiative to eliminate cancer as we know it.  On February, 1, 2016, the White House announced a new $1 billion initiative to jumpstart this work.

The National Cancer Moonshot will work to accelerate these research efforts and break down barriers to progress by enhancing data access, and facilitating collaborations with researchers, doctors, philanthropies, patients, and patient advocates, and biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.  The initiative aims to bring about a decade’s worth of advances in five years, making more therapies available to more patients, while also improving our ability to prevent cancer and detect it at an early stage.

Cancer Moonshot Challenge - Winners announced!

Thank you to all those who submitted entries. We received many interesting and thought-provoking entries – and we are going to use this data to make a difference. Your work is incredibly inspiring and important, and we encourage you to continue using and leveraging our data in the future.

  • 1st Place:  Dolcera visualized how the genetics and epidemiology of cancer relate to levels of research funding, patenting, and clinical testing.
  • 2nd Place:  Booz Allen Hamilton and Omnity constructed and visualized networks of cancer-related patents and federal research grants based on NIH co-funding and the degree of linguistic similarity between patent documents.

Get more information about our winners.

We enlisted the public’s help to leverage our intellectual property data, often an early indicator of meaningful research and development, and combine it with other economic and funding data. Participants in the challenge had the opportunity to leverage USPTO Cancer Moonshot patent data to reveal new insights into investments around cancer therapy research and treatments.

Some questions to address included: What are the peaks and valleys in the landscape of cancer treatment technologies? What new insights can be revealed by correlating R&D spending/funding to breakthrough technologies? What would trace studies of commercially successful treatments from patent to product tell us?

With the data sets released through our Developer Hub, users were able to use analytic tools, processes and complimentary data sets to build rich visualizations of intellectual property data, which helped illuminate trend lines for new treatments.

Patents 4 Patients

We receive approximately 900 cancer immunotherapy applications annually from around the world. This newly established program provides a fast-track review for cancer immunotherapy-related patent applications without the need for an applicant to pay an additional fee.  The program, set to launch in July:

  • Aims to cut the time it takes to review patent applications in cancer therapy in half (final decisions in 12 months or less). 
  • Is open to any applicant, including early stage bio-tech companies, universities and large pharmaceutical firms.
  • Is open to entities who may have products already in FDA approved clinical trials, allowing them to opt in, even if they have a patent application already filed.  
  • Moves new treatments from conception through regulatory approval swiftly, to reach patients faster.

For more information about our Patents 4 Patients program, please refer to the Federal Register Notice.

Patent data for cancer research workshop

Our Office of the Chief Economist will convene a workshop this fall to bring together cancer experts, policymakers, and data scientists to explore and identify how intellectual property data can be better leveraged, and combined with other data sets, to support cancer research and the development of new commercialized therapies.

Get involved

As the President’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative looks to build public-private partnerships with industry, governments, health systems, non-profits, philanthropy, research institutes, patients, and academia—those interested in advancing the Moonshot can join today by visiting the Cancer Moonshot webpage (archived). For the latest and current cancer information, visit the National Institute of Health (NIH) website.